01/11/2010 10:24PM

Ten Days In


Okay, time to get back on the horse(s). We're 10 days and 10 graded stakes into 2010 and my handle for the new decade stands at $0. I know, it's a disgrace. I'll try to do better the next 355 days.

Here's the graded-stakes summary to date:


The most impressive performance of the new year, however, belongs to Eightyfiveinafifty, who is officially on the Derby trail after a 17 1/4-length maiden victory at Aqueduct last Saturday that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105.

Eightyfiveinafifty was a well-kept secret (i.e., 27-1) when trainer Gary Contessa unveiled him at Saratoga last Aug. 1. He dueled odds-on favorite Discreetly Mine into defeat through sensational fractions of 21.74 and 44.21, understandably tiring late to finish third in a race won by Dublin, who took the Hopeful in his next start. (Discreetly Mine also won his next start, and later ran second in the Futurity and Champagne, and fourth in last Saturday's ungraded Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream.)

A hock injury in the fall kept him Eightyfiveinafifty sidelined until last Saturday, when he returned at 35 cents on the dollar and trounced a well-regarded Bobby Barbara firster and six others. The Aqueduct inner track was slow on Saturday but consistently slow throughout the day, and Eightyfiveinafifty's big Beyer was legit: His 1:10.85 was nearly two full seconds faster than the next best of the day's three other sprint races, which fell right into line with his huge performance:


I can't blame anyone for thinking that a son of Forest Camp who's spending the winter at Aqueduct is not exactly the embodiment of a classic winner, but Eightyfiveinafifty is a freakishly fast talent. Next stop: Stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth in the Whirlaway Feb. 6.